Not everyone is anticipating a merry mood this holiday.
This year we’re meeting the holiday season in the midst of a recession, and according to the National Mental Health Association financial stress is a top trigger for seasonal sadness. But experts says the Holiday Blues are not the same as depression.
Psychologist William Shapiro recommends a reality check for people who’ve caught a nasty case of Holiday Blues.
Shapiro: People often feel that the holiday has to be a wonderful time filled with joy and happiness and that may not be the reality for people at this time of the year.
Shapiro, who works for the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, says pretending does little good. Instead, he says, admitting that you are feeling low can release the pressure valve that amps up expectations. For people who’ve lost a family member, or even a job this year, Shapiro says sticking to routine can be a comfort.
Shapiro: You might find yourself saying ‘oh, you know I’m not so sure I want to go to the gym today’, or ‘I’m not going to go out for my walk’, yet if you really push yourself a bit, and really give it a little bit of an extra effort that can really pay off.
Seasonal sadness can mimic depression but Shapiro says true Holiday Blues lift quickly.
Shapiro: So if you find yourself getting into January and certainly into the middle of winter in February and your mood has not lifted or things are really becoming even worse, it might be important to try to seek professional help.